The following reflection is by Tom Cahill
Faith or Prozac
There's something fishy going on in our waters. And it's all to do with drugs. Last year in England doctors prescribed 39 million courses of antidepressants. That's a third more than in 2005. After due process, these drugs filter into our waterways and the sea. Effluent concentrates in estuaries and costal regions, the habitat of shrimp and other marine life. Shrimp are ingesting the excreted drugs of whole towns, with depressing results. Instead of swimming away from light and scuttling under rocks, as normally they do, these souped-up specimens swim towards sunlit water and become prey for passing fish. By feeding on fluoxetine, the active chemical in Prozac, they are five times more likely to swim towards the light. This harms the ecosystem's delicate balance.
In light of that, today's Gospel (Luke 17:11-19) is of particular interest, especially Jesus' statement: "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well" (v. 19). It would be very interesting to have a breakdown on those 39 million prescriptions. One wonders how many were for people of no faith.
While faith alone doesn't heal the lepers in today's Gospel, it does bring them to the source of health: Jesus. Clearly, one can't simply link the presence of illness with an absence of faith. But it's well to remember that faith doesn't serve pie-in-the-sky. It instils a healthy attitude of hope towards the future. But also it enables us to cope with things now. For some people that might be a more bitter pill to swallow than Prozac.